Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny (45) thanks on Instagram to everyone who helped save his life exactly one year ago today. He then became ill on a domestic flight from Siberia to Moscow, passed out in a hospital in Omsk, and was flown from there to Germany, where doctors determined he had been poisoned.
“I just don’t know when to celebrate the start of my second life,” the 40-year-old writes wittily.
He wonders when his second life began. “When I thought I was going to die on the plane from Tomsk to Moscow on August 20, 2020? Or seventeen days later, when I woke up from my artificial coma in the hospital in Berlin? Or the day I became aware of myself again and realized where I was and why (I find it hard to even name this day, by the way)?”
This is followed by thanks to a series of people. “The pilots who made an emergency landing and gave me the chance to survive, the paramedics who gave me the right injections that got me to the hospital alive and everyone who reacted indignantly because you prevented me from being quietly suffocated with a pillow in hospital in Omsk or would simply be disconnected from the ventilator.
Thanks again to everyone! Thanks to you, everything turned out okay. I survived and ended up in jail (hahaha, sorry, I couldn’t resist,” Navalny writes with a lot of humour. “I will drink tea to all of you today and also coffee, by the way, and even cocoa left over from the package that was sent to me, packed in a special box labelled ‘foodstuffs’.
Then the Kremlin critic remarks that he wants to hand out another thank you note. “I forgot to thank the corruption. It also played a part in my rescue. After they had disintegrated the entire state apparatus of Russia, they had no choice but to disrupt the special services. As a result, the level of covert operations we have is about the same as that of health care, education, housing and municipal services.”
Navalny then refers to his article that appeared today in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, The Guardian and Le Monde. In it, he writes, “I didn’t die of chemical poisoning exactly a year ago.” And clarifies “that the quality of the operations of the Russian secret services suffers from a leadership that is pushing back protection money from the economy.”
The Russian opposition leader refers to the unprofessional manner in which he was poisoned. “FSB (Secret Service) employees applied the nerve agent to my underwear contrary to all instructions. That was as inappropriate as the way they shadowed me too blatantly. This allowed activists and researchers to expose this fully.” According to him, corruption stands in the way of solving the most pressing political problems. “It is high time to make the fight against corruption a top priority,” writes Navalny. He managed to smuggle the text out of the penal camp through his lawyers, where he is serving a 2.5-year prison sentence for failing to comply with the terms of a previous conviction for fraud.